HOME FRONT

Paris’ newest boutique hotels are gunning for a homey atmosphere — but also with strong neighborhood favor. In the hip Marais area, the four-star Hôtel du Petit-Moulin, designed by Christian Lacroix, features 17 apartment-like rooms, priced from 180 to 350 euros ($235 to $455 at current exchange). The 31-room Hôtel Esprit, in the heart of Saint-Germain, offers a 24-hour open bar in the lobby (included in the room price), a hammam and a contemporary decor accented with 18th-century details. Rooms run from 260 euros ($338) to 785 euros ($1,022) for a suite with rooftop views. Meanwhile, the new 30-room Hôtel Daniel off the Champs-Elysées features 26 rooms and a family atmosphere, albeit a well-traveled one. While the rooms are decorated with exotic objects from all over the world, the four-star inn mixes a baroque boudoir atmosphere for the lounge and a Chinese garden feeling in the bar-restaurant. Prices range from 320 euros to 690 euros ($415-$900).

Hôtel Esprit Saint-Germain, 22 Rue Saint-Sulpice,
Tel: 331-53-10-55-55.

Hôtel Daniel, 8 Rue Frederic Bastiat,
Tel: 331-42-56-17-00.

Hôtel du Petit-Moulin, 29-31 Rue de Poitou,
Tel: 331-42-74-10-10.

CARTOON CAPERS

Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (famous for “Princess Mononoke”) is the subject of an exhibition at the Musée de la Monnaie at 11 Quai Conti on the Left Bank. It juxtaposes original Miyazaki drawings with those of French cult author Jean Giraud, better known as Moebius. Both infuse their work with the same surrealistic and dreamy view of a world inhabited with strange creatures and futuristic flying machines.

ARTS MAJOR

Juxtaposing Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photographs and Alberto Giacometti’s sculptures has made for an intriguing exhibition exploring the relationships between the two artists’ work, at the Cartier-Bresson foundation, through March 27. Stage director Robert Wilson, meanwhile, is showing drawings inspired by La Fontaine’s Fables at the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Foundation, through July 24. And Pierre Passebon

will feature Irina Ionesco’s stirring photographs of her daughter, Eva, in an exhibition opening Jan. 27. Meanwhile, Emanuel Perrotin, the contemporary art dealer, is celebrating his new space — a sumptuous 17th-century town house in the Marais — with a group show, including work by Takashi Murakami and Maurizio Cattelan.SHELL-SHOCKED

Gérard Depardieu and his long-time companion, actress Carole Bouquet, have opened a second restaurant — L'Ecaille de la Fontaine — across the street from their first one, the Fontaine Gaillon. The new site’s devotion is shellfish, particularly oysters. Depardieu often hauls in boxes of crustaceans fresh from Brittany, and he selects all the wines. There’s delicious warm goat cheese seasoned with a spicy olive oil and fresh fruit tarts to finish. And the modernistic decor, by Bouquet, is cool and comfortable.

L’Ecaille de la Fontaine, 15 Rue Gaillon,
Tel.: 33-1-47-42-02-99.

MOVEABLE FEAST

Jean Pierre Vigato just moved his two-star restaurant Apicuis to a spectacular hôtel particulier that today houses Luc Besson’s production headquarters. No wonder it’s already a show-biz meeting point. If you don’t have the time or budget for a sumptuous meal, have a drink at the terrific bar. Star chef Hiroyuki Hiramatsu also moved his pots and pans from his handkerchief-sized, 18-seat outpost on Ile Saint Louis to larger digs in the 16th arrondissement. But he kept the intimate atmosphere and seasonal menu. Meanwhile, nighthawks might try Music Hall, which serves Thai-style tuna rolls, sautéed sea scallops and yummy desserts until 6 a.m. — a rarity in Paris. A late dinner amid changing colored lights runs around 120 euros ($156) with wine.

Apicius, 20 Rue d’Artois,
Tel.: 331-43-80-19-66.

Music Hall, 63 Avenue Franklin Roosevelt,
Tel.: 331-45-61-03-63.

Hiramatsu, 52 Rue de Longchamp,
Tel.: 331-56-81-08-80.

UNZIPPED

Richard Rene — honored at the Hyères fashion festival last year and sponsored by Nordstrom to produce his winning collection exclusively this spring — is testing wider waters with the ready-to-wear collection he presents Jan. 26 during couture week. “I’m a maniac when it comes to details,” said Rene, 33, who cut his teeth at Jean Paul Gaultier and Hermès. He describes his style as “sophisticated” but “easy to wear. My clothes don’t drown a woman’s personality.”LORD OF THE RING

Céline Rivet’s high-end jewelry aims to casts a spell over all who enter her dim new temple-like shop at 3 Rue du Marché Saint Honoré. The shop’s brown velvet walls, snakeskin paneling and dim lighting offset brooches, pendants, earrings and rings that slowly orbit in glass showcases. “Every stone tells a tale,” said Rivet, whose one-of-a-kind designs include precious and semiprecious stones such as rubies, emeralds, aquamarines and opals. Prices range from 1,200 euros ($1,560) up to 11,000 euros ($14,300) for special orders.

COUTURE CABLE

Amid thinning couture ranks, the governing Chambre Syndicale relaxed strict rules for the couture appellation and inducted Franck Sorbier and Adeline Andre into fashion’s most exclusive club. Meanwhile, Swiss jeweler Chopard will sponsor a raft of young designers, who are again flocking to the less-crowded couture season in search of more media attention. They include Felipe Oliveira Baptista, Laurent Mercier and Richard Rene, whom Chopard will aide by offering a space — and high-end jewelry pieces — to show in the Intercontinental Hotel. For its part, Bulgari, the Italian jewelry house, will lend some of its bling to Stephane Saunier.

— Robert Murphy, Chantal Goupil, Laurent Folcher, Emilie Marsh and Brid Costello

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